Off the wall: A Jim Dandy horse race on NBCSN

+ -

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Diane Werts Newsday columnist Diane Werts

Diane Werts writes about television for Newsday. Werts previously was the founding editor of Newsday's trend-spotting magazine TV

Off the Wall finds the fun for you.

HORSING AROUND Don't you wish you could spend the summer at Saratoga? NBC Sports Network gets to, covering the action at the same-named racetrack for seven Saturdays, starting with today's "Diana/Jim Dandy Stakes" (5 p.m., NBCSN). Watch online at bit.ly/13bksMo.

OUR FAVORITE NEW SHOW You gotta love the title of "Your Bleeped Up Brain" (tonight at 10, H2). The new series explores the human mind's weakness for deceptions, superstitions, conspiracy theories and memory lapses. Video at history.com/shows/h2.

UNSCRIPTED ARRIVALS The '70s story of Donnie Brasco launches "Inside the American Mob" (tomorrow at 9 p.m., NatGeo). Spending time with the ladies of the WWE reveals "Total Divas" (Sunday at 10 p.m., E!). Go inside the TV-scripting process in "The Writers' Room" (Monday at 10 p.m., Sundance), starting with the minds behind "Breaking Bad" (due back on AMC Aug. 11). "Best Daym Takeout" (Wednesday at 10 p.m., Travel) brings YouTube sensation Daymon "Daym" Patterson to TV, finding great carryout food around the country. "Hatfields & McCoys: White Lightning" (Thursday at 10 p.m., History) checks in with descendants of the storied feud families, now trying to work together marketing moonshine.

MARATHON MANIA Two projects encoring for Emmy voters are the eerie mystery "Top of the Lake" (Sunday 1-8 p.m., Sundance), with Elisabeth Moss and Holly Hunter, and novelist William Boyd's spy saga "Restless" (Wednesday 8 p.m.-midnight, Sundance), with Hayley Atwell and Rufus Sewell. Still uniquely satisfying is 1980's classic miniseries "Shogun" (Sunday 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Encore), with Richard Chamberlain and Toshiro Mifune. Playing catchup is the first half of the final season of "Futurama" (Sunday 3-10 p.m., Comedy Central). And one 22-hour best-of marathon samples all 10 seasons of "Stargate SG-1" (Thursday 8 a.m.-Friday 6 a.m., Syfy).

THE MIND REELS If you think TV used to be simple and is now sophisticated -- well, imagine one of today's shows topping this episode listing from the surreal '60s rural-com "Green Acres" (Thursday at 7 a.m., ThisTV). Or maybe you had to be there when a farm couple was raising a seemingly sentient pig named Arnold Ziffel -- "With Doris out of town, Fred looks after Arnold by himself. When Arnold sees an advertisement for free movies and ice cream, he goes to Pixley. Lisa is convinced he's been pig-napped, so they all go on a search that leads them to a packing house." What a way to start the day! Scene-setting theme song at bit.ly/1aJfCw7.

CHANNEL CHANGING A millennial-aimed channel called pivot (with a small p) debuts Thursday, in the space formerly occupied by The Documentary Channel, promising "shows that are all about changing things up." Included are the cultural comedy "Little Mosque on the Prairie" (starting Aug. 5) and the new dramedy "Please Like Me" (Thursday 8-11 p.m.). The latter, premiering in a six-episode binge, stars comic Josh Thomas as an awkward 21-year-old. Meghan McCain's "Raising McCain" public affairs series arrives Sept. 14, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt's "hitRECord on TV" due in January. Acquired series will include "Friday Night Lights" and "Farscape." Optimum doesn't list pivot at launch, but it's on Verizon FiOS, DirecTV and DISH. A live streaming app is touted as "coming soon." More at pivot.tv.

You also may be interested in: